What physical changes occur during pregnancy and the post-partum period?
Your “core” is composed of many different aspects. These aspects include the pelvic floor muscles, the abdominal muscles, the breathing diaphragm, the spine, back muscles and hips/gluteal muscles.
Many changes occur to all aspects of the core during pregnancy in order to make room for the baby to grow. Other changes occur as well. Hormones change, weight gain occurs as the baby develops, center of gravity shifts forward as pregnancy progresses and abdominal/core/pelvic floor strength reduces due to the postural changes. When these changes happen, it causes your spine to change alignment and joint laxity to occur. This requires your body to quickly change the way you walk and move. These changes can cause pain and dysfunction during pregnancy.
After delivery, some of these changes may persist. Muscles of the core and pelvic floor are also weakened due to delivery. You also have new demands on your body such a lifting, carrying and feeding your baby which can increase problems still present. This is why it is important to discuss options for treatment with our providers at Advanced Women’s Healthcare, in order to manage pain/problems during pregnancy and even for self-care after delivery.
How can physical therapy help?
Physical therapy is available to help manage symptoms associated with pregnancy and delivery. The physical therapist will assess the movement, strength and function of all muscles that may be involved according to your symptoms. An individualized treatment plan will then be created based on your needs.
Some common symptoms are listed below. Although these symptoms may be common, they are not normal. Physical therapy can help!
- Back pain
- Pelvic/pubic pain
- Neck/arm pain
- Carpal tunnel
- Pelvic pain or painful intercourse
- Incontinence (bowel or bladder)
- Pelvic pressure/heaviness or pelvic organ prolapse